The trade deadline came and went, and the Jazz didn’t make a move. So now they know the guys they have, and Ty Corbin is free to go with whatever line-ups or match-ups he wants. And what did we learn from this team tonight?
1. We have the worst starting line-up in the NBA! Okay, it’s not actually the worst. One reason I was hoping that a trade might actually happen was so that certain players wouldn’t keep getting more minutes than they should. Way too often, the starting lineup stinks it up, and the bench has to come out and try to save the game. Now at halftime this looked like a game where the starters would come out with more energy and focus. Instead they came out and said, “Remember that embarrassing first quarter? Wait til you see our lack of effort in the third!” If free-throw attempts are a good measure of how aggressive a team is, then note how Millsap was the only starter with any free-throw attempts. He was 3-3. The bench went 20-25.
2. Paul Millsap is a stud! He had the first 13 points for the Jazz. No one else on the team could make a shot or defend a shot. Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams were 0-9 for the night. The whole night. Granted, Tinsley and Williams only got 14:16 in playing time, and they didn’t demonstrate they deserve a single second more.
3. Our Core Four is awesome! Derrick Favors was saddled by foul trouble, but he still managed to play his season average of 22 minutes, nabbing 7 points (3-6 shooting), 8 boards, 1 steal and 3 blocks. In a game that the Jazz lost by 13, Gordon Hayward was a +12 with 23 points, 8 boards, 3 assists and 1 steal. Kanter had 15 points in just under 17 minutes. Alec Burks was a +8 with 12 points, 6 boards, 3 assists and 1 steal. All the management guys can downplay or dismiss the “Core Four” slogan, but they’re delivering.
On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being Corbin deserves to get that statue built in front of the ESA right now, and 10 being Isiah Thomas coaching a team that rookie GM David Kahn threw together, tonight Ty ranks a 6. Granted, the Clippers are a good team with more talent, but there’s no excuse for the first and third quarters starting flatter than a cup of month-old Shasta. They had less energy than Bob Newhart on Ambien.
Now the next three games are home games. And Ty might feel safe to keep the starting lineup because they’ll be at home and even though the ESA’s only around 40% capacity at tip-off, by the time the bench starts coming in, the crowd is more populous, more enthused, and the home-court advantage kicks in.
Mo Williams’ return will make a difference to the lineup, but it’s pretty obvious that’s not the only change the starting lineup needs. I would modestly propose that DeMarre Carroll, the best on-off court producer on the team, be installed as a starter, for starters, and Gordon Hayward get a minimum of 32 minutes off the bench every night. Marvin Williams would get a few DNP’s in a row for that to work, but this where we are.